Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Robert Reich

A fiscal cliff 'mini-deal'?

A mini-deal on the fiscal cliff will give the new Congress and the White House time to craft a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction without going over the fiscal cliff, Reich writes.

By Guest blogger / November 16, 2012

In this April 2008 file photo, Jackie Doyle, of Greenwood Lake, N.Y., second from left, waits in line to mail her husband's taxes at the James A. Farley Main Post Office in New York.Tthe path of least resistance on the fiscal cliff is for congressional Republicans and the president to agree to kick the can down the road, Reich writes.

Tina Fineberg/AP/File

Enlarge

Want to know what’s going to happen to January’s fiscal cliff? Just remember: Political deals move the same way water goes down hill — following the path of least resistance.

Skip to next paragraph

Robert is chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Clinton. Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written 13 books, including “The Work of Nations,” his latest best-seller “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future," and a new e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His new movie, "Inequality for All," is available on Netflix. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

Recent posts

Here, the path of least resistance is for congressional Republicans and the President to agree to kick the can down the road – keeping everything as it is (current spending, the Bush tax cut) until a date in the not-too-distant future — say, March 15.

As a sweetener, Republicans will have to agree to lift the debt ceiling again when a vote is needed to do so, probably in late January.

This mini-deal will give the new Congress and the White House time to craft a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction without going over the fiscal cliff.

It also enables the White House and Democrats to retain their trump card: The Bush tax cuts will automatically expire at the end of the negotiation period (in my example, March 15) unless an agreement is reached. So the top marginal tax rate automatically rises to 39 percent.

The downside of the mini-deal: Financial markets will remain uncertain about the ultimate deal. That means another several months of Wall Street gyrations. And certain industries – military contractors, drug companies, and other sectors dependent on government spending – may delay expansion or hiring until a grand bargain is struck.

But it’s far better than going over the cliff.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. This post originally ran on www.robertreich.org.

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Editors' picks

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!